I biked home yesterday. This in itself is not unusual. I like to bike. And I took a longer route home. While it was humid here in Auckland, it was also raining. That helped. I mean I got wet, but, that’s not a big deal. I was the only cyclist over the 10+ km stretch I took. Everyone else was in cars. They probably got home drier, albeit I doubt they got home any faster. So, that got me thinking. I wonder how much time we spend outside these days?
I haven’t been able to find a good answer for NZ. Or even a good answer I think for the United States. In 2001 Nature published a time-study for the USA in in Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. At this point in time, Google has only been in existence for 2 years. The top-selling mobile phone was the Nokia 3310. Smartphones didn’t exist. YouTube didn’t exist. So without those modern distractions, the average American spent less than 10% of their day ‘outside’.
Now that includes adults who work in agriculture or similar. For someone living and working in an urban environment, this could easily be less. The amount of time spent walking to the car or bus. Working all day in an office or a shop. Getting home late, and watching TV or playing on the computer, doesn’t leave a lot of time for spending time outside.
7.6% is 109 minutes. Or 1 hour, 39 minutes per day. Where a day is 24 hours. I suspect we spend a lot less time today. A scary lot less.
Novelists used to describe a dystopian future, where humanity is forced to live underground and away from sunlight. I wonder how many of us would really notice now 🙂